A group of over 60 Black and Palestinian artists and activists released a video as a way to draw a commonality between their two respective struggles, and to show support for one another.
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Both the Black and Palestinian communities, they explain, face daily struggles such as militarized policing and high prison rates. This video serves as a way to harness and foster these shared experiences.
The video, entitled "When I see them, I see us," depicts people holding up provocative signs such as “Gaza Stands with Ferguson” and “They choked me on video. I said I couldn’t breathe,” referencing the death of Eric Garner in July 2014 in New York City. Lauryn Hill, Cornel West, Alice Walker, Angela Davis, and Danny Glover, among others, can be seen holding up the signs.
In August, over than 1,100 Black activists, artists, scholars, students and organizations signed a statement that calls for “solidarity with the Palestinian struggle as well as a boycott of private prison company G4S and other corporations profiting from Israeli occupation."
“Mutual expressions of solidarity have helped to generate a vigorous political kinship linking black organizers, scholars, cultural workers and political prisoners in the U.S. with Palestinian activists, academics, political prisoners, and artists,” explained Angela Davis, who is featured in the video.
The idea for the video came to Palestinian scholar and organizer Noura Erakat in the summer of 2014 while fighting was going on in Gaza at the same time that the Ferguson uprising was sparked by the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
“Palestinians used social media to share their advice on how to deal with tear gas and rubber bullets, and protesters chanted ‘From Ferguson to Gaza, we will be free,’” explained Erakat.
“Organically, an analysis emerged highlighting similarities, but not sameness, of Black and Palestinian life, and more aptly, of their survival. Palestinians do not expect Black solidarity, but appreciate it tremendously. Our communities are dehumanized using similar logics of racism and repression. It behooves us to explore those similarities further and recognize that our exceptional conditions are the norm,” he said.
After a litany of comparisons between the two communities, the video ends on a note of hope:
"Resilient, steadfast, determined
I see who we are meant to be
Alive, free, liberated
mapping out our destiny
"I see hope, strength, love
a place where our children can dream
I see a road, a partner, a family
a world where we can rise and be seen."